Pimples 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

Updated: May 13, 2021


You can snap and crackle, but definitely don’t pop!!

Clear Skin for the Win!

There’s nothing worse than planning the perfect night out and having an uninvited guest pop up. No, it’s not your ex; it’s another kind of unpleasant party crasher—a zit.

For many of us, acne is an everyday battle; and starting a fight against even one blemish can turn into an all-out acne war that can last for weeks, months or even years. So before you engage in head-to-blackhead combat with a zit, here are some tips to keep the peace between your gorgeous skin and those pesky pimples.

Acne can vary in types and severity, but the most common blemishes people encounter are blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and pustules. Blackheads are formed when an open pore is clogged by oil and dead skin cells. Whiteheads many times start out as blackheads, but overtime without proper exfoliation dead skin cells accumulate over them. This causes a white “plug” to form on top of the clogged pore. Pustules are more invasive than either of the other two blemishes and are harder to extract. Pustules most often appear red and inflamed and can also have pus at their tips. Then you have the cystic breakout which are most commonly caused by hormones. They can start out as a blocked pore and over time the pore walls rupture causing bacteria to leak into the skin surrounding the pore. This causes an infection and is why cysts are painful and inflamed.

While acne is most often associated with adolescence due to the hormonal changes that occur during puberty, adult acne can still persist based on several factors beyond genetics. Pimples are generally caused by excess oil production, bacteria, clogged pores or hair follicles, and inflammation. Acne flare-ups can also stem from hormonal changes, like during a woman’s menstrual cycle, stress, diet, and skin care products such as makeup. Considering all the ways in which a pimple can find its way to the surface of your skin, there are some battle-tested remedies to lean on in your fight against acne.

As tempting—and deeply satisfying—it can be to pop a zit and watch the pus wiggle out, your best defense against a pimple is to leave it alone! Incorrectly popping a pimple can delay the regular healing process, causing more inflammation to the blemish and potentially the surrounding area. Popping pimples can also lead to the spread of bacteria, which can create a larger outbreak or a more severe pimple. If you squeeze too hard and accidentally break the skin, you can be left with permanent acne scarring too.

Instead of popping your pimples, DO:

  • Ice the blemish for 10-15 minutes. Icing helps to reduce inflammation, which can make a pimple appear smaller and less red, and therefore, less noticeable. We love these cryo-sticks from Biologique Recherche.

Biologique Recherche Cryo-Sticks

Reduces inflammation, puffiness and redness